Two dead, one missing after Russian fighters collide over Sea of Japan
In this file image made from video provided by Russian Defense Ministry press service on Aug. 18, 2016, shows a Russian combat fighter bomber Su-34 unloads its bombs over a target in Syria. Two Su-34's similar to this one collided in mid-air over the Sea of Japan on Jan. 18, 2019. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service photo via AP, File)
The Associated Press
Published Friday, January 18, 2019 4:36PM EST
MOSCOW -- Two Russian fighter jets collided Friday during a training mission over the Sea of Japan, leaving two crewmembers dead and another one still missing, officials said.
The Defence Ministry said the two Su-34 jets, each with a crew of two, collided while manoeuvring and went down 35 kilometres (22 miles) from the shore.
It said both crews bailed out and one crewman was quickly spotted and rescued by a helicopter. He was in good condition, according to the ministry.
Following a massive search involving several rescue ships and aircraft, two other crewmen were found dead, the ministry said in a statement carried by Russian news agencies.
The search for the fourth missing pilot is continuing despite strong winds.
Earlier, the Defence Ministry said two crewmembers were rescued, but later retracted the report and said that just one crewman has been found alive.
The ministry said the jets were not carrying any weapons.
The Su-34 is a twin-engine strike fighter that has seen an extensive use during Russia's campaign in Syria.